Another week, another Griff Bag — aka Richard Griffin’s latest mail bag from over at the Toronto Star — and… hold on, the Jays have been kick-fuckin’-ass for the better part of a month and this is what we’re talking about??? Yeesh.

If there’s a question you’d like me to answer, unless it’s about fucking Ricky Romero and J.P. Arencibia, submit it to Griffin here, and maybe he’ll select it for a future mail bag. Fingers crossed!

Q-Hi Richard Stoeten,

Rather than come up with ways to improve the team I think I am just going to enjoy the one we have right now for a little while. I don’t know about you but I always have a feeling that when good players are on a genuinely successful team they consistently up their play to the highest level. As opposed to playing down to their comfort level on a struggler. They are starting to beat good teams and look like the real deal.

Anyway I was thinking about JP Arencibia–I don’t wish him any ill will (I still remember the excitement of his debut) but boy he has hit the skids. I was wondering why some talented players (Halladay, Aaron Hill, Encarnacion and Bonifacio) can get their careers back on track after a trade/ spell in the minors etc and others like Russ Adams, JP, and Ricky Romero etc just sink.

Should the Jays make a deal to eat some salary and get Romero off the books? Or is the plan to hope he turns into a kind of long project like McGowan?

As for JP should someone sit him down and kindly tell him to put his catcher’s mitt away and maybe convert himself into an Adam Lind type of player. A lot of DH and a little 1st base?

All the best

Frank Taker, Prescott, ON

Uh… you can’t exactly “eat” Romero’s salary and consider him “off the books,” for one. But honestly… whatever. You’re not magically finding someone who’ll actually take on more than approximately nothing of what’s still owed him, so it’s pretty fucking pointless to bother even thinking about any of this. I mean, I’d love to see Romero actually figure himself out at some point, and I’m all ears to hear about the fucking fantasy world in which some team actually wants to pay to acquire him at this point, but maybe think for a second like you’re another team, with its own budget, and what you’d do — except laugh — if the Blue Jays called you up and suggested you take on Ricky Romero and pay for the privilege of doing so.

It’s absurd.

I’m sorry, but he’s fucked. At least until he stops being fucked.

And Arencibia as a DH or first baseman? How in the living fuck would that be possible? The offensive bar at catcher — which, FYI, he already can’t clear — is about as low as it gets for any position. How could he convert to a position where the expectations are even higher and be viable? I mean, he could make the switch, but he’d twice as useless as he already is. It’s not a solution.

As for why some players can weather their troubles and some can’t, I suppose the bullshit narrative way to look at it would be that there’s some personal or mental issue common to the guys who can’t hack it, but I’d suggest that the reality is more that in baseball the margins for error are just so razor thin. A little bit of lost bat speed or velocity on a fastball can be all the difference between great and washout. Every case is different, obviously, and maybe this isn’t a satisfactory answer for you, but the elite level of the game is difficult to a degree that those of us simply observing really can’t comprehend. Many very, very talented players haven’t been able to reach the level of a Halladay or an Encarnacion. That’s hardly a failing.




Q-Hi Richard Stoeten,

I’m wondering if pitchers talk to each other after a game to discuss what worked or didn’t with a particular lineup, or do they just keep to themselves, their own routines and styles? I would imagine some info would help, but at the same time you wouldn’t want to get out of your comfort zone based on what another pitcher is doing.



Umm… they could talk, I suppose, and I’m sure they do to an extent, but it’s not exactly like teams are game-planning via word-of-mouth like it’s nineteen-fucking-forty-six. There are advanced scouts, there’s video, and through those kinds of methods a club can pull together information on an opponent that can be tailored to best utilize the strengths of pitcher’s repertoire.

And, honestly, think about it a little bit. What can R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, and Marcus Stroman really tell each other about a lineup, for example? One’s strictly fastball-knuckleball guy, one’s a soft-tossing left-hander (who won’t face the same lineup as the others, because of opponents’ platoon issues), and the other is a hard-throwing righty. One could tell the other two the key he found some sort of key to dominating a lineup, but how much good would it do? It’s not like all pitchers are capable of attacking hitters in the same way, so maybe they make conversation with each other and discuss what’s working on a particular night with their rotation brethren — especially so if two guys are somewhat similar, I suppose — but where is the value they’re going to get out of a thing like that? I’m not seeing it. Not at the big league level, at least. Not with the other tools at their disposal.




Q-Hey Griff Stoet,

I think the Jays should groom McGowan as a setup man, that would eventually take Jansen’s role as the closer. If McGowan’s stuff is as nasty as everyone says this might be the best role for him.

Dan Humeniuk

OK. Aren’t they? Or… I don’t know. He’s a late-inning, high-leverage reliever. Not really seeing where or how there’s an issue here.




Q-Hi Richard Stoeten,

This is an era of uniform uniformity in every accessory a player wears from power necklaces to wristbands on down to their shoes. So what’s up with Juan Francisco’s fluorescent green elbow wrap? Thought players couldn’t wear anything that stood out from the team colour scheme. Just curious. Maybe you can ask those old clubbies Jeff Ross and Kevin Malloy.


Jeffrey Marcil, Hong Kong





Q-Hi Richard Stoeten

Two questions that may have the same answer (i.e., because no one wants to upset the fans):

First, why has spectator interference become acceptable? (I seem to recall seeing fans escorted out of the stadium when they interfered with a ball in play.)

Second, why does Rogers (Sportsnet) continue to employ the un-domesticated Greg Zaun? (I do love his critical comments on all things Blue Jays.)

Bill Cooper, Kingston

On the first one, I think you’re right — at least in a way. I’m not sure if the increased preponderance of interference — or at least what seems like it might be that — is because anyone thinks it’s acceptable, or that it’s because fans don’t like being told not to do it, per se. But I can imagine that it’s probably not very good for business — or at least not believed to be very good for business — to actively be throwing paying customers out of the building. Is it warranted to kick someone out for interfering with a ball in play? I think so — though not, mind you, when it’s a kid. And should the club (and, presumably, the league) do a better job of reminding patrons of how to behave when a catchable ball is coming their way? Of course. But it happens everywhere — not just here — and as dumb as it is how excited people get for souvenir baseballs sometimes… I dunno. It’s life. It’s OK, I guess.

As for the second one, does preserving the air of objectivity ring a bell? People love the shtick, and it sure can’t hurt, optics wise, to have a “straight-shooter” who has been instructed to “be honest, be opinionated, as I tend to be, and to be fair,” but to “not attack ‘The Man.’ ” Of course, ultimately the difference between the positives and the negatives he brings need to balance out within the trusty ol’ Rogers cost-benefit analysis, but as is the case with the shitheel the Fan 590 has been dancing with of late when it comes to their morning show, apparently they do. And really, that’s how I try to think of it. There is a lot of value he can bring to a broadcast, too, I think, when he sticks to the nuts-and-bolts kind of stuff. When he strays elsewhere, I dunno… some people like it, I guess, and I’d prefer Rogers not endorse so heartily what often is the blatantly dumbing down of the discourse, but it’s their loss. I don’t really watch that stuff anyway — and I’d bet you have a mute button, too.




Q-Rich Stoet,

Enjoyed your column on EE. (And the “1959 Twins” was a simple typo – May ’59 instead of ‘May 69.)

The question: Am I wrong to suggest that no Dominican who plays for a team based in Canada — not EE, not Bats, not the Melkster, not Reyes — will ever get the attention from the media who cover MLB that an American player on a U.S.-based team will get?

And the strike zones that the MLB umps — all of whom are Americans — call for the Dominican Jays are as large as the strike zones Japanese umps call for Gaijin players in the Japanese leagues.

John Thompson, New Westminster, BC

Yes, you are wrong. Or if there is a hint of you being right, it’s because of economics, and not whatever perceived slight you want to turn us into victims over.

No, the strike zones are not any different from anyone else’s.




Q-Hey Richard Stoeten,

I understand that it may be a lot to ask for, but it seems pretty reasonable to expect that in the year 2014 there would be no racist team names in the major leagues. Since Cleveland insists on keeping it’s name, what do think it will take for them to change there name?

It may not be much but it would be nice if Rogers/ the blue jays would take the moral high ground and remove all Cleveland logos and references in there broadcast. Maybe if enough teams refuse to broadcast there logo and team name we can see change.

Phil from Winnipeg

I don’t use the name here, as a form of silent protest, and am all for others following suit. I have a hard time believing that fellow team owners would make such an overt gesture — or that they could do so silently — but it would be the right thing to do, in my view. Individual media members can certainly work around it pretty easily while still being able to do their jobs, which is something I’d like to see more of. But, at the same time, I’m not going to say I have all the answers here or that I know enough to speak on anyone’s behalf on the issue. I just try to do what I feel seems appropriate.

Comments (77)


    Maybe this is the singularity and Stoeten is slowly becoming Richard Griffin. The Instagram photo was only the first step. It is as the prophesies fortold!

  2. I caught one foul ball at a game in my 40+ years on this earth. I gave the ball to an 8 year old two rows up from me who looked like it was his first ever game.

    I understand the thrill from a child’s view, but an adult going crazy over a baseball is pathetic.

    Praying for October baseball…..

    • I was 7 years old in ’92, and I was at one of my first games with my father. A man a few rows in front of me caught a home run ball, looked around, saw me, and walked up to give it to me. This was such a big deal to me as a kid. I still have that ball.

      Always give a souvenir ball to a kid.

    • I think I’d only be excited about it if I caught a line drive with my bare hand (which would probably break my hand, but still).

  3. Do you think there’s any point in moving Romero to the bullpen? I don’t necessarily see how that gets his control back, but maybe a change of role, into a LOOGY or something similar, would help. (And yes, he makes far too much for a LOOGY, but better a LOOGY than a terrible AAA starter).

  4. The IQ of the average sports radio talk caller or someone who emails to newspapers must be below 50. Some of these questions make you wonder how these people get through daily life.

    • The JPA one blew my mind.

      JP sucks at hitting so much that he can’t even stick at catcher. Why not try him at the position with highest standard for offensive performance.

      Someone should tell this guy that NASA is hiring.

  5. Where did the photo of the wino come from?

  6. I have to refer to, because who doesn’t like laughing at idiots?

    “Just a couple of games, but teams that are winners don’t get shutout for such a long period of time. Give it another month and we’ll know if this team is a folder or a holder.”

  7. The lack of runs over the last few games is shitty. Hopefully just a speed bump.

    • How is it possibly anything but, provided they stay healthy?

    • This series against the Cards has brought the Jays wRC+ as a team from just ahead of the A’s for best in the majors to just behind the A’s for second best in the majors.

      So… yes, this whole “Averaging one run per game” thing they’ve experienced over the last three games is just a speed bump.

    • I took the weekend off too.

  8. Read a research article once looking at strikezones of umpires from one ethnic group against batters in another ethnic group. The conclusion was that there’s no statistical difference between black/white umpires to any group batting but those umpires of “Latin” background favoured Latin batters a tad. I’d link but.. I won’t.

    • Actually just to be more clear, it was looking at pitches outside the strike zone and what they were called for each permutation of ethnicity.

  9. A few decent mop up innings from Redmond does not cover up the fact he’s a bag of shit. Just throwin’ that out there. He’s on my personal shit list. As in Gose. Fuck Gose you had me going for a couple of weeks there. TRICKED!

    When the hell is Colby back?

    • The only thing shittier than Gose or Redmond would be the alternatives.

      …and I’m sure Colby will be back soon

    • So… you don’t care what his results are, he’s always going to suck?

      I expect that his numbers will regress a bit and that he’ll give up more homeruns, but he’s been extremely effective so far this year. It’s not like yesterday’s performance was just some mop-up duty. The team was down by five with tons of time left to come back. He did a good job of not letting the game slip away.

      • @Philbert Agree

      • you must have a pretty fucking loose definition of “extremely effective” PB, the guy is 0-4 with a 1.5 WHIP and a .304 BA against him, and pitching a mere 6 innings from May 11- June 6th. He’s a mop-up guy. And not a great one. I was thinking maybe give Liam another spot start during the upcoming long stretch to give the starter’s another day of rest.

        • Jesus if his numbers regress a bit what will batter’s hit off him, .400?

        • Oh he’s 0-4…well then that seals it.

          His BAA is .284, not .303, unless you are using some arbitrary endpoints.

          His ERA is 2.83, FIP: 2.91, xFIP 4.41

          He is going to allow more homeruns (2% HR/FB) but he is also due for some positive BABIP regression which currently sits at .348.

          • is showing a BAA of .304, so basically you are an All-Star when you hit against Tood Redmond. But ya the 0-4 record is meaningless….

            I stand by my original assessment. And I agree with Moseby. He pitches OK when he doesn’t to.. He’s the worst pitcher on the team, he’s cheap, and maybe someone in Buffalo like Jenkins or Bobby Korecky or Liam Hendricks woould do better..

            • Stop using batting average. And especially stop using pitcher wins.

              That is, if you want to be taken remotely seriously.

            • You know what the problem with this is? You seem to have your mind made up about Redmond and you’re simply not willing to look at it any other way despite all the evidence that goes against your preconceived notions of his value.

              But you’re right about him being awful this year when it matters most. His numbers in high leverage situations have been horrendous this year, so obviously those 3.0 innings of work prove that he just can’t handle anything other than mop-up duty.

          • Thank you for saving me the time in typing all of that out. If you look at his traditional numbers (like ERA, batting average, etc.), he’s been solid. If you look at his advanced numbers, he’s been somewhere between solid and outstanding, with some bad BABIP luck and some good HR/FB luck.

            So obviously, when you put it all together, he’s 0-4, so he’s been awful.

            • bwahahhaaa frig off I conceded the 0-4 point.

              • I’ll give you credit for that, but I did start typing that out before I saw that comment.

                W-L complaint redacted. All other complaints stand as noted.

                • +1

                  I’m just happy to waste time at work arguing with someone over the merit of the Jays worst pitcher. It’s fun. And thanks for researching his high leverage stats, that confirms Moseby and my own suspicions…. Cheers.

                  • It does confirm your suspicion that he’s been awful in high leverage situations this year, but the fact that the numbers have come in 3 IP means we aren’t anywhere even remotely close to being able to draw any kind of conclusion from them.

                    TRUE STATEMENT: Todd Redmond has been terrible in high leverage situations this year.
                    FALSE STATEMENT: Todd Redmond is terrible in high leverage situations.

            • I think when a person mentions that he has a personal shit list (whatever that is), you shouldn’t bother trying to engage in rational discourse.

    • A bit harsh I’d say. The only positive about yesterday was Redmond coming in and saving the pen. That’s his job and he did it. Cudos to him.

    • I feel as though Redmond pitches well when the team is losing by a lot and not well when it’s close, tied or they’re winning.

      I have no data to back this up, like Roger Murtaugh I’m going on a hunch.

  10. The whole Zaun thing, and the mute button. It’s true you don’t have to watch/listen, but it’d be nice to sit down and enjoy an entire broadcast with out having to flip away.

    • I actually quite enjoy Zaun when he talks about in-game stuff. Particularly about catching…. Sadly that’s only like 10% of his content.
      When he tries to play GM it gets ugly fast.

  11. Holy fucking shit, JPA as a 1b/DH? Just when I thought people couldn’t get any dumber.

    • Well you gotta keep that sub-.230 OBP black hole in the lineup somehow!

      I hear Texas needs a 1st baseman…

  12. “I think the Jays should target Price and Zobrist”. Sure, Greg, why didn’t AA think of that??

    • AA should see if the Rays will accept Romero and Kawasaki in return for them.

      • AA already did.
        He first did the Jedi hand wave ” These are the replacement level players you are looking for.”

        He even fell back on swinging a watch on a chain, “You are getting sleepy. You will accept Romero and Kawasaki. When you say yes, then you’ll feel refreshed and happy when I snap my fingers.”

  13. “I was wondering why some talented players (Halladay, Aaron Hill, Encarnacion and Bonifacio) can get their careers back on track after a trade/ spell in the minors etc and others like Russ Adams, JP, and Ricky Romero etc just sink.”

    Oh, I dunno…maybe it’s because baseball is hard?

  14. Jays are in first place, and people are asking about Francisco’s fucking elbow pads. Is there like a law in Toronto that fans just HAVE to find something to bitch about?

  15. I work with a lot of aboriginal people (downtown liquor store in Winnipeg, its a reality of being Canadian, get the fuck over it) and just from observation….a lot of the ‘thug’ culture that is adopted by so many tend to gravitate to revering the Cleveland Indians. I see A LOT of Indians gear in my store, and they seem to enjoy it, and take it as a mark of pride.

    Then I ask them if Cleveland won today and they go back to scowling at me.

    • AB be careful dude. We need you in the monkey army.

    • That is quite the comment.

      • Just speaking from first hand observation in a very bad neighbourhood in WPG. I see more Cleveland gear than any other sports team, asides from the Chicago Bulls. Anyways, Ill stop now before someone thinks Ive pissed in the pourridge.

        • I work in Brantford and I asked a woman from 6 Nations what she thought of the Cleveland’s logo. She liked it as a kid feeling that it was her team. She still doesn’t have a problem with it and says this is a bigger issue among First Nations in the States.
          May be the Jays can celebrate National Aboriginal Day as an appropriate response.

    • They’re wearing it ironically.

  16. Natives like sports teams with native logos. I don’t see anything offensive / surprising about this, but I would not be asking them advanced Indian’s stats, that’s just dumb man, obviously they are not into the Cleveland fuckin Indians

  17. I definitely agree on the Cleveland nickname thing, but I will note that the word “Indian” is not considered as taboo in the US as it is here. Of course, we all know that Columbus thought he found India, inspiring him to dole out that name to the indigenous populations, and perhaps this is why that word is not considered as insulting there as it is here. Columbus was an asshole of course, so it’s a whole other can of worms there, but there you have it.

    I hate their logo, though. At least the Barves don’t use a portrait in theirs, and even the Chicago Blackhawks logo doesn’t remind one of parody or ridiculous stereotype. I’d like to see telecasts and in-game mentions go with the “Clevelands”, just to see what happens.

    • Simply calling Columbus an asshole is pretty complimentary considering the unholy piece of human filth that he was.

  18. Griff sure gets some stupid questions. I think some of these people write in just to get their name in the paper. Maybe he should have them use monikers like we do on this blog. It would sure cut down on those assholes who see their name and question in the paper and then go buy 20 copies to show all their friends.

  19. well F Me

    those questions…..

    I just don’t get it, he must get more questions then that

    Does Griff pick the most fucking messed up ones to reply too.

    think we need to plant some better questions in their,

    Holy fuck

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